Education and Economics in West Africa: From Unwritten Languages to the Internet
International Journal of Social Education Volume 19, Number 2, ISSN 0889-0293
Global distribution of West African goods--coffee, chocolate, gold, diamonds (and at one time, ivory)--has linked this region to the outside world for centuries, yet its development remains slow. Not simply the ancestral home of humankind, Africa's western legacies include colonization, partition, and loss of untold millions to slavery and wars of conquest. Geologically, the continent of Africa is mineral and resource rich, yet capital poor. With its impenetrable rainforests, harsh desert regions, and sheer immensity (three times the size of the United States), Africa keeps humans humble within their environment. With no east-to-west transportation routes, language, culture, economy, and education in Africa tend to develop regionally. The economic factors inhibiting development become more visible through lessons and data based resources available through the Internet's digital bridges. Economic conflicts in the region of West Africa revolve around political control of diamond and other mining deposits. Agricultural products such as coffee and chocolate are stable cash crops, but development depends upon literacy and education. This article, reviews central multicultural themes of West African nations and discusses major similarities and differences in cultural and economic traditions and challenges. It also highlights current population and demographic issues through use of international digital bridges to West Africa. A list of Internet-based resources for teaching is appended.
Alibrandi, M. & Bull, P.H. (2005). Education and Economics in West Africa: From Unwritten Languages to the Internet. International Journal of Social Education, 19(2), 51-58.